Emilie Grard, intern with Focus Eco Center: “for me, buying local is a political act”
At the ‘Let’s clean it’ event (Mures river)
Why did you join Focus Eco Center?
I study political sciences in Sciences Po Rennes, and as part of my studies I had to go abroad for an internship. I have just come back from Belfast where I have been working in urban community gardens for 4 months. Focus Eco Center is a new experience for me, an opportunity to discover the grassroots work of an association specializing in rural development. So far, I enjoyed taking part to the daily work of the association and I really want to be involved in more projects for the next 6 months.
And why did you choose Romania?
This is not the first time I hear this question (laugh). Actually I realized that I hardly knew about Eastern Europe. Those countries are often associated with many stereotypes, especially Romania. I must admit that if I came here, it was because Focus Eco Center accepted to welcome me for my internship. But, even if it is not always easy with the Romanian and Hungarian language here, I have to say that I don’t regret my choice: I believe that Tg. Mures is a very vibrant city to live and go out. And I didn’t expect this enthusiasm for sustainable development projects. I learned a short time ago that Tg. Mures was the first city in Romania to get an Agenda 21.
You are working more precisely on the Webkamra project: do you have a special interest in the development of short food supply chains?
I am actually really keen on this kind of initiative. I have been taking part, as a consumer, to some AMAPs or other local food systems in France, and also in Belfast. Each time, it was an amazing opportunity to meet local farmers and learn more about their activities and difficulties. For me, buying local is more than consuming better and healthier, it is also a political act: I am convinced that buying from local farmers can contributes to local economies and the development of eco-friendly farming methods. So, I am really glad I can work on Webkamra and help developing a vegetables baskets system for the time I am here.
What will you do when you are back to France?
I need to finish my Master’s degree in sustainable development and concertation in Caen. Then, I don’t know precisely. I still feel that I need to travel and discover other many countries.
Interview conducted by Nagy Botond